Can you help Listen-Up! with their self harm research?

It is really important for us to understand more about self-harm and help in the future development of services for young people who self-harm.

Harmless are working with the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester to increase our understanding of self-harm in young people.

Listen Up are looking to hear from young people who have experienced foster or residential care and young people who have never been in care.

We are looking for young people aged 11-21 who have self-harmed in the last 6 months to take part in our research.

There are two studies you could take part in – one involves being interviewed by about your experiences of self-harm. The other study involves taking part in two computer-based interviews over 6 months. You will privately answer questions about self-harm and other issues.

We can cover your travel expenses – meet you in a place of your choosing and we can offer a £15 high-street voucher (per study) as a thank you for your time.

To take part please contact us at, call 0115 8467319 or visit the website:

Thank you to the Star Trust!

In October 2013, Harmless were awarded £13,148 by the Star Trust;  a local organisation that raise much needed funds for charities within the East Midlands who are battling for survival and are in desperate need of help.

The money awarded  to Harmless was given to fund 50 per cent of the cost of a new full time therapist at our Organisation. Thanks to the wonderful support from the Star Trust team, we have considerably increased our capacity to offer clinical support to adults who self harm or at risk of suicide.  Although self harm affects people of all ages, it is often challenging to get funding for important services for over 25’s, so this donation was of particular significance.

Since the start of 2014, our new therapist has seen over 35 new clients and delivered over 260  counselling sessions. We have seen a tremendous turnaround in those accessing psychological support from our service. The counselling sessions have given these people a new sense of hope that life can get better. By supporting our organisation, the Star Trust they have literally helped us save lives.

A client recently said, ‘Being a man in my late 40’s, finding help for self harm was often a challenge to say the least.  When I first went to Harmless they enabled me the time and space to find myself in a non judgmental environment. I was able to discuss the emotional difficulties I was experiencing and as a result my self harm began to decrease. I am still in the service and see a therapist weekly but my life has started to turn around.’

On behalf of The Directors and the team, we would like to publically thank the Start Trust for their continued support. For more information about the amazing work they do, please click here

Student confidentiality – Do you know your school’s self harm policy?

We recently asked a teacher to write for our blog about their school’s policy around self harm and disclosure. Did you know that some school’s state that parents must be informed about all self harm, whereas others will only inform parents in certain situations?

A teacher recently said:

‘Initially when I approached the service (Harmless) it was to aid my ability, as a teacher, to support students in my school.  Working in a school means I have to abide by policies that are put in place. I found that some students that made disclosures of such a personal nature didn’t always understand exactly what confidentiality meant. Policy in our school stipulates that we need to inform a parent and this immediately broke trust. I found myself in this position on more than one occasion. I wanted to talk to Harmless about what I could do to ensure students that did approach could do so in confidence with a complete knowledge of confidentiality and what it entailed for our school.’

It is important to remember that teachers sometimes need to tell parents if a disclosure is made because every school has a duty to keep students safe, however different schools have different policies in place to help decide if self harm is making someone unsafe. Some schools say that parents have to be told if a student is self harming in any way whereas others will only tell parents in certain situations, such as when the person is self harming in a way that puts their life at risk.

There can be lots of reasons why someone might harm themselves. It can come from feelings and emotions that are very difficult to cope with and stopping can be really hard, so it’s important to be kind to yourself.

If you want to speak to a teacher it might be worth checking out what sort of things would have to be shared with your parents, before you make a decision. Most of all it’s important to try and get support from someone you trust.

Why not email harmless if you are in doubt about what confidentiality means? We can find out your school’s policy for you, or we can work with your school to find the best person to speak to. We will do this without identifying you! Remember, you don’t have to feel alone and isolated. We are here to help.


Self Harm Workshop for Parents, Thursday 3rd July

This Thursday (3rd July), Harmless will be delivering a free self harm workshop for parents at a Nottingham City School.

The workshop will be from 5:30-7pm

The workshop will cover what self harm is, awareness and supporting young people.

If you are interested in attending please email

This will be offered on a rotational basis across city school for the foreseeable future.

In the news: Study shows that teenage boys that self harm are six times more likely to die by suicide than teenage girls.

Study shows that teenage boys that self harm are six times more likely to die by suicide than teenage girls.

The research suggests that all boys who present at hospital having self harmed must be viewed as serious suicide risks.

The National Suicide Research Foundation study shows wide gender differences between boys and girls around self-harm and suicide, with boys who self-harm at a far higher risk of killing themselves later.

The study, of 15-17-year-olds, found that for every 16 boys that are hospitalised for self-harming, one will die by suicide later. In contrast, one in every 162 girls who present at hospital after self-harming will later kill themselves.

It found that the rate of hospitalisation for self-harm was twice as high among girls than boys, suggesting that girls are more likely to seek medical help than boys.

The study found that self-harming at home or in the community is far higher among teenage girls than boys.

The study also found that for every boy who dies by suicide, 146 will self-harm in the community without ever accessing hospital care. For every female who dies by suicide, 3,296 will self harm at home.

Post-doctoral psychology researcher, Dr Elaine McMahon, said the suicide ratios could suggest that boys are more prone to impulsive behaviour than girls, who can “internalise” more.

“Self-harming is rarer in boys and for those that do, we must recognise that they are at high risk of suicide and so we must target them in suicide prevention strategies,” she said.

Dr McMahon said there was a plethora of reasons why young people seek to self-harm. “It can be a cry for help, attention-seeking or a means of dealing with unbearable emotions,” she said.

The school survey also revealed that out of those who self-harmed without going to hospital, 59% of boys used cutting as did 58% of girls.

Of the self-harmers who were hospitalised, 25% of the boys used cutting compared to 14.6% of the girls. Overdose was the most common type of self harm among teenagers presenting at hospital with 72.8% of girls overdosing and 54.2% of boys.

The school survey, published in the Journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, also showed that drug abuse and knowing a peer who self-harmed were strong factors in both boys and girls self-harming.

Boys who were bullied, felt anxious, had problems at school or who admitted to impulsivity, were more likely to self-harm.

Girls who self-harmed admitted to poor self-esteem, a family member self-harming and forced sexual activity.

Previous research from the NSRF showed that over two thirds of people who took their own lives in the past three years knew a family member or friend who had taken their own life or tried to. It found the majority of suicides happened within 12 months of experiencing a friend or family member taking their own lives.